The Cuban sugar industry started grinding sugarcane a month ago with the declared aim of recovering the path to growth it had lost in the previous harvest. After taking off in early November with the Harlem sugar factory, in the western province of Artemisa, the 2016-2017 harvest has gradually spread to other territories and in the first week of December, 27 sugar factories were already working.
The Azcuba Business Group, which concentrates the sector’s industry, announced that it has set itself the goal of increasing production by 12 per cent.
This plan contrasts with the 19 per cent decrease in the 2015-2016 harvest, which cut a five-year sustained growth tendency and took production to less than 1.6 million tons of sugar, according to estimates.
To recover the growth tendency Azcuba expects 45 sugar factories of the 54 that will participate in this harvest to start producing before the end of December. The director of information and analysis of the business group, Dionis Pérez, announced that the remaining nine factories will start grinding sugarcane in January.
If these plans are met, the factories would join the grinding earlier than in the previous harvest and a few factories that did not work a year ago will be added. Only two of the 56 factories in the country would remain idle.
Azcuba’s spokesperson said that this agribusiness has sufficient sugarcane to reach the sugar production growth plan.
The business group has also expanded the number of more modern harvesters and equipment, better equipped to work in humid fields. Pérez commented to the press that 96 per cent of the sugarcane area would be cut with machiness and the high-yield harvesters will assume 6 per cent of the mechanized cane cutting.
Factors like the weather, such as the drought that predominated in part of the Cuban geography, and paradoxical and untimely rains due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomenon, were blamed for 71 per cent of the last harvest’s sugar losses.
Azcuba authorities also recognised on that occasion the industry’s inefficiencies and delays in the distribution of spare parts and equipment for repairs; as a result, the take-off of 13 of these factories was delayed, while the lost industrial time seriously affected the operations of 12 factories.
The representatives of Azuba consider that the renovation and expansion of the agricultural park with the purchase of high-yield harvesters will come together with the fulfilment of the repair programme of the agricultural as well as industrial machinery. (2016)
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